ATHENS, Ga. - No matter what, I've got to figure that the Baylor softball team comes out fired up today for its second game of the Super Regional against host and sixth-seeded Georgia.
The 11th-seeded Lady Bears (44-12) have the momentum of Saturday's 5-1 win, when they rallied for five runs in the last three innings to overcome an early 1-0 deficit. Plus they have the motivation of playing for "fallen soldier" Clare Hosack, the freshman catcher who suffered multiple fractures on the right side of her face from a foul ball in the second inning.
And then, just a couple hours before the game, former LSU All-America second baseman Stephanie Hastings gave a motivational devotion that talked about "burning down the city."
"Last night, you laid siege to the city," Hastings said in her devotional, which she presented while the team was still on the bus outside of Jack Turner Stadium. "Today, you've got to burn it down. Nothing but ashes. . . . If you're still thinking about yesterday, today is going to be a long day. You won some battles and you lost some battles yesterday. You're going to win some battles and lose some battles today. But you've got to finish it. You've got to win the war."
I was ready to suit up and play or go to war or run into a brick wall. Put me in, coach.
Needing just one more win to advance to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City for the second time in five years, the Lady Bears play Georgia (50-13) at 2:30 p.m. central in a game that will be broadcast live on ESPNU. The "if-necessary" game is scheduled for 5 p.m.
You can also follow the in-game blog at www.baylorbears.com or follow us on twitter @BaylorSoftball.
STANFORD, Calif. - Remember those American Express card commercials where it told you, "Don't leave home without it."
Well, if one of the GPS companies out there is interested, I'm definitely available to do a reprisal. "This is Jerry Hill for Garmin GPS, and I'm urging you, no, I'm pleading with you: `Don't leave home without it.' Or you'll end up like me.
OK, for the record, my problems at the start of a long Saturday had nothing to do with GPS. So I'll come back to that one later.
Scheduled to depart Dallas Love Field on a 7:25 a.m. flight with an eventual destination of San Jose, Calif., I ended up sitting (actually sleeping) on a plane for about an hour before they switched us to another plane that left about an hour and a half late.
That's when the real "fun" began. Check this flight path: I went from Dallas to San Antonio to Tucson, Ariz. (for refueling) to San Diego, Calif. I've now been at four airports, in some cases very briefly, and I'm still nowhere close to San Jose and the NCAA Tennis Championships at Stanford.
After a 2 ½-hour layover, I arrive in San Jose right at 4 p.m. Pacific, which was right about when the Baylor men were scheduled to play Ohio State.
No problem. Grab the car, take a quick 20-minute drive over to the Stanford campus, and I'll probably make it for the end of doubles.
This is where the GPS would have come in real handy. With no map and sketchy directions from google, I drove around for over an hour before I finally stumbled on the campus and found the tennis center nestled between some trees. Have they not heard of signs out here?
All the while, my cell phone has also died, and I don't have a car phone charger with me.
To make a long story longer, I arrive at the tennis center roughly two hours into the match and get to see the end of Ohio State's 4-2 win that ended the Bears' season with their 10th straight appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals.
If only I had taken my GPS and arrived on time, I've got to believe I could have made a difference. If you've never heard me at a sporting event, I can actually be very loud and annoying.
So next time, trust me, I won't leave home without it.